Basketball

Ranking the Logos for Every NBA Team

By Ryan Finklestein - December 07, 2018

Over the past ten years we have seen the NBA take on a new look as many teams have changed or modified their logos, usually in the search of a more modern look. Here are rankings for the 30 new and old logos representing NBA teams.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder sounds great as a team name but the problem is that there is no visual representation for thunder which makes forming a logo problematic. Nothing about this logo describes them as the thunder, which leaves them with this bland logo that is the worst in the NBA.  

29.Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets used to have an actual rocket in their logo and if you look closely they still do. The R part of their logo is in the shape of a rocket, but it is too subtle and hard to pick up on unless you are looking for it. This leaves them with a logo that lacks a punch.

28.Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings actually have an alternate logo which features a lion that would rank in the upper-half of   this list. But we are left to analyze this one and there is nothing that excites fans about this logo. The crown in the Kings logo should stand out much more and they should not feel like they need to force a basketball into it if it is not serving a purpose.  

27. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix played it safe with their logo and it shows. A sun should be shown with bright vibrant colors and the sun in this logo just uses the color from the basketball. If the Suns were to add some more colors into their logo, it could be one of the better ones in the league.

26.Portland Trailblazers

What is a Trailblazer anyway? Another name that sounds really cool but makes for a hard logo design. To further explain the confusion with this franchise, look at their random mascot “Blaze the Trail Cat”. Portland does the best they can with the Trailblazers name but they aren’t going to finish too high on anyone’s top logo lists.  

25.Orlando Magic

The only player that ever really made the Magic look cool was Shaquille O’Neil. If you take the Magic name away from the logo, you would probably think that they were the Orlando Stars. There is just nothing in this logo that tells you this team is the Magic.  

24.Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks logo has a lot of things working for it. The main one being the awesome looking horse in the center of it all. The reason why this logo falls so far down on the list is the font of team’s name. It looks like the same font that a fourth grader would use for their class project, not one used by a championship basketball organization.  

23. Charlotte Hornets

First off, anything Hornets related looks better then when they were the Charlotte Bobcats. The only problem with this new Hornets logo is that they went for a modern angry hornet instead of the classic Hornets logo from the past. The retro Hornets logo, with the bug dribbling a ball, would have been a much better choice.  

22. Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers were re-branded by their owner Steve Balmer when he bought the team and he did a pretty good job overall. The Clippers have separated themselves from the perception of being the second team in L.A. and a big part of that was changing the logo. Their old logo looked too similar to the logo for the Lakers and at least now they have their own identity.  

21. San Antonio Spurs

Winning changes the perception of everything and the Spurs have done a whole lot of winning over the past 20 years. All of that winning has made the Spurs one of the most marketable brands in the league. Still, there logo is not very flashy and would not be so desired if it were attached to a different team. Then again, it sure looks great holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy.  

20. Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors had one of the best logos in the league, when it featured an actual dinosaur, but they decided to change it for a more modern look. They do get credit for making a real cool clawed basketball design that works for with the Raptors name though.

19. Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons logo is a classic, that has not seen much of a change from the era of the “Bad Boys” to now. Nothing wrong with it, but also nothing that makes someone who is not a fan want to go buy Pistons merchandise.  

18. Cleveland Cavaliers

We are beginning to get into the better logos in the league and the Cavaliers logo with the sword works perfectly. Then again we still have recent memories of LeBron-led Cavaliers teams that make the Finals every year. The longer we watch the dumpster-fire that is currently playing in Cleveland, the worse that logo is going to get.  

17.Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies logo should never change, as this is a great representation for both the team and the city they play in. The colors are great and the demeanor of the fierce grizzle bear looks awesome.  

16. New Orleans Pelicans

When the New Orleans Hornets announced that they were going to become the Pelicans, they were met plenty of backlash. But the Pelicans found a way to make it work. The pelican somehow looks menacing and the colors they picked suits the city of New Orleans well.  

15. Philadelphia 76ers

Now that the 76ers went retro, their logo looks so much better. The red, white and blue color scheme taps into the patriotic history of the city of Philadelphia and makes for the ideal logo.  

14. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Haws are another team that went with a new modern look and it panned out well for them. The bold red color of the logo pops well and the Hawk in the center looks sleek. Luckily for the Hawks we are not judging their jerseys in this list because their highlighter-colored ones would come in last.  

13. Denver Nuggets

The Rocky Mountains in the Nuggets logo are a perfect encapsulation of the city of Denver. One way to take this logo over the top would be to add a pickaxe or gold into the mountains.  

12. Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are another team that adjusted their logo in recent years and a modern look was again the reason for the change. The main change to the logo was to remove red from their color scheme and slightly tweak the features of the deer’s face. The result is a cleaner and bolder logo that stands out much more.  

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a great logo previously, which had a wolf surrounded with timber trees. They took the trees out of the logo and it brings more focus to the wolf, who is howling at the moon now. The Timberwolves also did an excellent job with subtly introducing there secondary green color into the image.  

10. Utah Jazz

A lot of team unsuccessfully force basketballs into their logo’s, but the Jazz expertly combined the ball with a musical note into the letter J at the start of their name. We are left with a colorful logo that has all of the elements that you would like it too.  

9. Washington Wizards

Just taking this logo at face value, there is a lot to like. Their unique basketball design goes along with a red, white and blue color scheme which is exactly the right look for a team that plays in our nation’s capital. What pushes this logo into our top ten is the fact that they were able to feature the Washington Monument at the center of this logo.  

8. New York Knicks

While they have not done much winning, the New York Knicks are still one of the most popular brands in the NBA. Keeping the same classic logo has been the right decision for the Knicks franchise even as they try to turn around a culture that has kept them as a bottom-dweller in the Eastern Conference for a long time.  

7. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are one of the most stable and consistent organizations in the league, which is why their logo is great. The design of the P in this logo has been uniform for such a long time, that any changes to it would be a big mistake.  

6. Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets prove with their logo that if done the right way, a simplistic design can work. There really is not one thing to point out that makes this logo work but it all comes together to form a logo that Brooklyn fans can support.  

5. Golden State Warriors

The best team in basketball over recent years, the Golden State Warriors have also been rocking one of the best logos. The Golden Gate Bridge is the best monument used in a logo, as it looks awesome and represents the team’s city.  

4. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have the best use of a basketball in the NBA in their logo. The basketball is falling through the hoop on fire, making it a top tier logo. This logo has always been reminiscent of the classic arcade game NBA Jam where players would be on fire and dribbling around a burning basketball.  

3. Los Angeles Lakers

The top three team logos on this list are from the most classic teams in NBA history, which have vaulted their logos to the top of the list through their play and consistency. The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the first teams you picture when you think of the NBA and this iconic yellow and purple logo is a huge part of that identity.  

2. Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls were lucky to have the G.O.A.T. play for them and bring them six championship, as Michael Jordan forever transformed the legacy of their franchise. Jordan also helped turn the Bulls into one of the most marketable franchises in sports, with one of the best logos.  

1. Boston Celtics

It is hard to find a better logo in sports, much less in the NBA, then the logo for the Boston Celtics. The leprechaun in this logo is just amazing with it smoking a pipe, leaning casually on his cane while twirling a basketball on his finger. The luck of the Irish has helped the Celtics capture more league titles then any team in history and they have done all of that winning with a top-flight logo.